Temporary classrooms promised for Surbiton schools after u-turn on playground development

Surrey Comet: Temporary classrooms promised for Surbiton schools after u-turn on playground development Temporary classrooms promised for Surbiton schools after u-turn on playground development

Children will not miss out on a school place at St Andrew’s and St Mark’s Junior (SASM) School after Kingston Council scrapped a proposed expansion but then decided on a temporary classroom to accommodate more children.

Parents learned last week that a new two-storey classroom block would not be built and the schools’ intake would not be expanded in September – only to be told that a temporary class would place children just days later.

The move to scrap the expansion would have affected 13 Year 2 children at Maple Infants’, who would not have gained a place at their first-choice junior school next-door.

But Councillor David Ryder-Mills, lead member for schools and continuing education, said: “Because the timescale was so tight – we were going in the wrong order.

"We were going for planning permission first before we made the decision to expand.

"There are technical reasons why this could have stopped the whole scheme coming to fruitation – I was not prepared to take that risk which is why I pulled the scheme."

He added the move was positive and a meeting would be held shortly to discuss a better proposal for an expansion.

St Marks ward councillor and council leader Liz Green said due to bulge class arrangements, the issue of expansion at St Andrew’s and St Mark’s will not rear its head again until September 2017.

She added: “I don’t think it would be right for us to make policy decisions based on a small number of parents who are disappointed.

“We have time to look at whether there is a better solution all around for the schools, rather than rushing through something that is going to be remaining for 30 to 50 years.”

But at the time Kingston parent Lisa Dhawan said: “It’s going to have a huge detrimental impact on us. We don’t know where we can go from here. They have to come up with something really good.

“Parents are up in arms.”

Matthew Paul, head of school place commissioning for Kingston and Richmond, initially wrote to parents: “The reasons for the withdrawal primarily relate to concerns with the building designs and a wish for there to be more time to resolve those concerns.

“Whilst we are very aware that many parents will be concerned by this news, we will do our utmost to work with the schools to resolve the outstanding issues.”

A ‘bulge’ class of 30 pupils will also enter Maple Infants’ in September.

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